For Lionel Train Enthusiasts, the 2011-2012 Grand Central Holiday Train Show offered an opportunity to experience the best of both old and new Lionel railroading.
Skip to the Holiday Train Show Photo Gallery
Held at the New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex in Manhattan’s Grand Central Station, the Holiday Train Show offered three working track layouts that took viewers from a model of downtown Manhattan to the North Pole.
Created by TW Design in Dallas Texas, the layout included numerous well known scale buildings from downtown Manhattan, as well as a number of scratch built structures mingled with figures, buildings and vehicles from the Lionelville series.
Like the Lionel trains themselves, the layout mixed highly detailed scale renderings with obviously inaccurate fantasy items. Despite the juxtaposition of precision scale dioramas with highly imprecise representations, the Holiday Show was enchanting.
At the time I visited the museum, there were three trains running: a big New York Central diesel freight, the Lone Ranger Wild West set and the Polar Express passenger set.
In addition to the working trains, there were numerous static displays of Lionel trains from the past, including some early tin-type designs. The static trains were mounted on the wall in protective cases where they could be examined up close.
The display was sponsored by Lionel, with additional support by the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
If you are intent on visiting the layout, it is important to know that the main New York Transit Museum is located in Brooklyn. The Holiday Show is in the NY Transit Museum Gallery Annex. The Annex is located in Grand Central Station in downtown Manhattan.
The show is scheduled to run through January 16, 2012.